A father from Leeds is proving he’s a wheely big deal as he gets on board for a world championship competition.
Rich Sykes, from Bramley, has been practising his jumps before he jets off to Serbia for the first ever World Boardercross Championship.
The competition on September 6 will see mountainboarders from across the globe battle it out in Bukovac for the title.
Rich, 36, is one of just eight UK riders competing at the event. He taught himself to mountainboard 10 years ago in his local woods at Bramley Falls Park.
The father of three, who also has two step-children, represents Yorkshire in the Masters category of the ATBA-UK national competitions.
He said: “This will be the biggest competition I have done so far.
“I want to bring the trophy home to Leeds and make my family, friends and the rest of Yorkshire proud.
“It’s all about self-belief.
“I’m looking forward to meeting riders from all over the world, and I’m feeling confident and riding better than ever.
“I am just looking forward to getting there now.”
He added: “My kids think that it’s cool and they all board as well.
“My kids have done it since they could walk.
“When they were toddlers they used to stand with me on my board between my feet.”
Eight-year-old son Bradley recently competed in his own competition.
Rich added: “He’s already got loads of fans!”
Mountainboarding is a sport derived from snowboarding that involves a rider being strapped in to a board, which has four wheels. Competitions are usually held in rough terrain.
Rich added: “The racing side of it is just incredible.
“It is such a big adrenalin rush.
“There’s no pecking order in the sport either. It’s such a friendly sport and the best guys treat the new ones with the same respect.”
The two-day world championship competition at the weekend will see Rich race around a purpose-built course in under a minute and a half.
Rich added: “It is definitely an exciting sport and it’s a great spectator sport too, as there’s usually plenty of crashes.
“I’ve been lucky though. I was knocked out in a race once after a crash for a couple of seconds and displaced my elbow in the same race.
“But I still came second on the podium in that competition!”
Rich’s employer Morley Glass and Glazing sponsored him for the Serbia event.
GET THE FACTS
Mountainboarding is also known as dirtboarding, off-road boarding and all-terrain boarding.
A board is made up of a deck, bindings to attach it to the rider, four wheels with pneumatic tyres and two steering mechanisms known as ‘trucks’.
Riders can tackle all types of terrain such as grass hills, woodland and gravel tracks.